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Madame Girardeau: Her Story

Ensign Girardot's establishment of a trading post at Cape Rock put our river town on the map in the early 1700s. Volunteer Charlotte Slinkard at the Cape River Heritage Museum is traveling the country to research Cape Girardeau's earliest European history, and the story of Girardot's wife Therese quickly grabbed her attention. As the Cape River Heritage Museum prepares to open for the season this month, don't hesitate to stop by this former police and fire station to learn more about the early days of Cape Girardeau from the perspective of pioneering Therese Girardeau. 

Celeste-Therese Nepveu was born in 1700 in Quebec. In 1722, her family traveled south to settle in French-held Illinois territory. Therese and her sisters sought help at at nearby Fort de Chartres when the strong river current halted their heavily loaded boats; when they returned with soldiers from the fort, they found the remains of their party, assumed to have been attacked by Native Americans. Five months after arriving at Fort de Chartres in November of 1722, Therese married young Engisn Jean-Baptiste Girardot [Girardeau]. Therese and Jean-Baptiste were married for 8 years until Girardeau died during hostilities between Native Americans and French soldiers well after he established his trading post at Cape Girardeau. She went on to marry again, and at age 36, was twice a widow with five small children. She married one final time and settled in New Orleans where she died in 1760. 

You might have heard about Ensign Girardot, but I'm guessing that his wife's story is new to you! I encourage you to see the early days of Cape Girardeau brought to life at the Cape River Heritage Museum, opening for the season this month! Learn more about the Cape River Heritage Museum here

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